Legal protections for press freedom date back to the 1766 Freedom of the Press Act. The governing Social Democratic Party announced in December the purchase of insurance to cover court costs for suing media outlets that report false or libelous information about the party or its members. In October, a reporter for the state-owned radio network was barred from broadcasting live for two weeks after expressing on the air his support for U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidate John Kerry. Journalists who investigate extreme right-wing groups are sometimes threatened and even physically attacked by neo-Nazi militants.
Independent media express diverse political and social views. All print media are privately owned. Media ownership is highly concentrated, particularly under regional media conglomerates Bonnier and Modern Times Group. The Swedish Broadcasting Corporation and the Swedish Television Company broadcast weekly radio and television programs in several immigrant languages. The state provides subsidies to support financially struggling newspapers regardless of their political affiliation. The ethnic press is entitled to the same subsidies as the Swedish-language press.